The state government cracked the whip on Monday removing all 30 policemen from Jakkanpur police station in south-western Patna for their alleged complicity with bootleggers after four men were caught drinking at a private nursing home under the station’s jurisdiction.
The entire team, from station house officer (SHO) to constables of Jakkanpur, was asked to report at the Patna police lines after preliminary investigation revealed their links with illegal liquor traders. The order means that the punished personnel were unlikely to get active policing duty in the near future.
The move is seen as part of the Nitish Kumar government’s crackdown on police personnel who are suspected either to be complicit with liquor traders or not enforcing total prohibition, imposed on the state since April 5, 2016.
The Bihar police have been under fire for “tardy implementation” of the prohibition law following regular seizures of truckloads of alcohol coming from other states and allegations of its easy availability in the black market in many parts of the state.
During a review meeting last week, chief minister Nitish Kumar had referred to reports of police officials’ involvement in illegal liquor trade. He had warned that no one defying the anti-liquor law in the state would be spared.
Patna senior superintendent of police (SSP) Manu Maharaaj said there were frequent complaints of liquor being sold illegally in Jakkanpur police station area.
“Investigations showed SHO AK Jha had reported on duty in an inebriated condition on many occasions,” the SSP told HT. The SHO was suspended late Sunday night, he added.
A thorough inquiry was being conducted by SP (east) Dhurat Shayli Savlaram, the SSP said. “Departmental proceedings will begin against policemen found guilty and they would be barred from any police station duty,” he said.
Anupam Yadav, director of Sai Emergency Trauma Hospital, where four people were found drinking, was arrested and the district administration would soon initiate process for sealing of the private medical centre, the SSP said.
A police team had raided the centre on Sunday and caught four men drinking in the operation theatre, Maharaaj said. Empty alcohol bottles were also recovered from the nursing home, he said, adding this showed not only lapses by the police station, but also its complicity in the illegal activity.
Maharaaj said a liquor seller, arrested earlier, had alleged involvement of some policemen posted at Jakkanpur police station in the illegal liquor trade.
This is the second time after enforcement of the new prohibition law in Bihar when an entire police station staff has been transferred
On February 3, all cops at Beur police station were transferred following complaints they were shielding bootleggers.
The police headquarters had also suspended 11 SHOs in Bihar, including those of Phulwarisharif and Masaurhi police stations in Patna district, for failure to enforce prohibition.
Drinking, keeping or dealing in alcohol is an offence under Bihar’s prohibition law, which provides for imprisonment up to 10 years in such cases.
Empty bottles of liquor were also recovered from the nursing home.
The entire team, from station house officer (SHO) to constables of Jakkanpur, was asked to report at the Patna police lines after preliminary investigation revealed their links with illegal liquor traders